If you’re looking to vacation to a bike-friendly country, the Netherlands should be at the top of your list. The Netherlands is a major destination for biking thanks to its cycle-friendly landscape, wonderful weather, and great scenery. Did you know that 40% of travelers arrive by bicycle in the Netherlands? Thankfully, they have the infrastructure ready to compensate for that. The Netherlands is home to the world's largest bike garage —it can hold 12,500 bikes!
So bring your bike from home, rent a Dutch bicycle, or try a Dutch step-through bike and come ride in the Netherlands, where you’ll be met with a strong cycling culture fit for you. Since the Netherlands is a cycler's paradise, there are plenty of cities that are great for a bicycle tour. Below are some of the most beautiful routes to try out the Holland bicycle lifestyle.
Bike-Friendly City #1: Utrecht
Utrecht was ranked #1 for the most bike-friendly city in the Netherlands, and for good reason. This city is home to many bike paths for residents and travelers alike. Riding your Dutch bicycle through Woudenberg and its forests is a popular route among cyclers in this city. Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park offers stunning views of meadows, ponds, and other great nature scenes as you cycle through. This route is filled with winding paths, rolling hills, and stylish estates.
River Vecht, also in Utrecht, provides a tranquil path for a Holland bicycle enthusiast, or really any avid biker who wants to have a memorable experience. The Vecht flows past several villages and beautiful Dutch landscapes, with lanes along both sides of the river. The River Vecht is a 35KM route between Weesp and Utrecht and is known to be one of the most scenic routes in the Netherlands.
Fun fact: Utrecht is simultaneously the youngest and fastest-growing city in the Netherlands.
Bike-Friendly City #2: Zwolle
Just like almost every major city in the Netherlands, Zwolle also has a reputation for being a cyclist town. The cycling network includes cycling streets, tunnels, and bridges specifically designed for biker safety. Zwolle’s flat and smoothly paved cycling routes are perfect for a traditional gear-free Dutch step-through bike.
One of the most popular biker routes is the Rondje Zwolle, which is about a 40km ride. You’ll be able to cycle among unique landscapes like the IJssel river and Bos Agnietenberg (a beautiful flat woodsy area that is perfect for cyclists). Zwolle is always looking to expand its cycling routes, so you may find a new pathway by the time you get there.
Fun fact: Zwolle is such a cycling-first city, that there are some places where cars aren’t allowed to pass because of the heavy cycling traffic.
Groningen is in the northern region of the Netherlands. It is a beautiful city full of historic landscapes. The Groningen countryside is perfect for travelers looking to rent a Dutch bike, and it provides views of vast fields, quiet pathways, and historic farms.
Popular routes include the Windmolen, de Boezemvriend loop, or the Houten Brug/Waterhuizen Loop. All paths get a glimpse of the Groningen countryside, making this charming, historic city perfect to explore by bike.
Fun fact: The University of Groningen was the first in the Netherlands to accept women.
The Dutch capital is a cyclist's playground and has some great scenic routes for all-level cyclists. Amsterdam accommodates both the urban city biker and the lush forest biker with its various bike pathways.
The purple route for urban tourists is a popular route among residents and tourists alike. The path takes you through Amsterdam's most famous sights and canals at the heart of the city. You’ll be able to tour past the Anne Frank house, district Jordaan, and through the Nine Streets, a trendy shopping center.
If you want to get off the beaten path, take your Dutch bicycle along the countryside routes of Amsterdam. From there, you’ll be able to try out a true Holland bicycle path and enjoy authentic Amsterdam scenery like wooden houses, windmills, and farm workshops.
Fun fact: Amsterdam has more bikes than people in its city limits!
Why Biking in the Netherlands is so Popular
The flat Dutch terrain is perfect for cyclists of all ages. The infrastructure in the Netherlands is perfect for biking, making transportation often easier by bike than by car. But cycling is not only for convenience in the Netherlands–it’s also fun. The country’s beautiful landscapes and efficient biker paths make cycling one of the best ways to get around.
The Netherlands is one of the safest places to ride a bike. It's very easy to rent one when you’re in town, and we recommend tourists try out the Dutch way of life and try out a bike for transportation. It’s a great way to see the country.
Whether you’re on a Dutch bicycle, bring your own bike, or try out a traditional Dutch step-through bike, riding a route in the Netherlands should absolutely be on your travel bucket list.